Afternoon Edition: Medinah Temple landlord hits jackpot with temporary casino deal

Today’s update is about an eight-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Outside the site of the Bally’s temporary casino at Medinah Temple in River North.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Good afternoon, Chicago. ✶

And happy Friday!

For some of you, this cloudy day still has some shine to it because it’s payday!

There’s no denying that it feels good to get that paycheck, even if it all ends up going toward rent, groceries and a parking ticket you got because you didn’t move your car for the street sweeper in time.

Maybe I’m projecting on that last one. 😅

In today’s newsletter, we’re looking into the owner of Medinah Temple and the massive payday he’s getting, thanks to Bally’s and the temporary casino that’s set to open Saturday morning.

Our reporters look into the deal, and what email exchanges involving former Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s staff show us, below. 👇

⏱️: A 7-minute read

— Matt Moore, newsletter reporter (@MattKenMoore)


Bally’s landlord at Medinah Temple temporary casino hits $20 million jackpot

Reporting by Tim Novak and Mitchell Armentrout

Landlord’s jackpot: Chicago’s first casino doesn’t open to the public until Saturday morning, but someone already has hit a jackpot topping $20 million. It’s Albert M. Friedman, the clout-heavy developer whose tenants have included three mayors — Brandon Johnson, Lori Lightfoot and Rahm Emanuel. Friedman owns the historic but long-vacant Medinah Temple that he’s leasing to Bally’s for a temporary casino until it builds a planned gambling emporium at the riverfront site of the Chicago Tribune’s printing plant.

How much are we talking?: Bally’s has to pay Friedman more than $16.5 million in rent plus a management fee of $330,000, under the terms of its four-year lease, obtained by the Sun-Times. Bally’s also must pay Medinah Temple’s Cook County property taxes — a bill that has topped $1.1 million a year. If Bally’s decides to extend the lease for another two years, Friedman would get an additional $9.6 million in rent and management fees, and the casino operator would keep paying the property taxes.

What Lightfoot administration emails show: Representatives of ex-Mayor Lori Lightfoot say she had no involvement in the Bally’s-Medinah Temple deal. But Samir Mayekar, who was her deputy mayor, exchanged emails with Friedman regarding Medinah Temple a few months before Lightfoot picked Bally’s to own and operate the planned Chicago casino, the Sun-Times has learned.




Illinois first lady M.K. Pritzker in the Kankakee Room at the governor’s mansion in Springfield.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

  • Inside the governor’s mansion: First lady M.K. Pritzker gave Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed and photographer Ashlee Rezin a tour of the decadent mansion, the focus of a book the first lady has written about the estate’s history and secrets.
  • $2B for CTA Red Line extension: The agency is in line to receive a federal grant to cover half the cost of the 5.6-mile extension to provide mass transit service to the Far South Side, the only part of Chicago without it.
  • Labor contracts for city workers get panel’s OK: Seven thousand city tradespeople would continue to receive the prevailing wage paid to their counterparts in private industry, after a City Council committee advanced a a five-year contract Thursday. The full Council votes on it next week.
  • Fall theater preview: With a mix of old favorites and world premieres, Chicago’s theater scene is packing some must-see heavy hitters this season.


Buffalo Bills v Chicago Bears

Bears quarterback Justin Fields last year. The Bears and Packers face off Sunday at Soldier Field.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Bears kick off another season Sunday at Soldier Field, where they’ll face their longtime rivals, the Green Bay Packers.

Ahead of the matchup, our Rick Telander looks back on the bitter rivalry. Bad blood is needed for a true rivalry, and we got a lot of that with this Bears-Packers matchup that goes back over a century, Telander writes.

Now, with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers gone and the Bears ready to kick-start a rebuild, our Mark Potash asks: Is the Bears-Packers rivalry headed for another major shift?

A big part of that shift would be Justin Fields, who is showing franchise-quarterback potential — and Fields knows what he needs to do. Only by being a passer who can run, not a runner who can pass, will Fields begin to answer the biggest question facing the Bears. Fields broke down his plans for the season for our Patrick Finley.

How Sunday plays out, along with the rest of the season, will give us a good look at how year two of the great Bears rebuild is going — and show whether General Manager Ryan Poles has them on track, our Jason Lieser writes.

Follow along with all of our coverage and analyses here.



Crowds flood Grant Park for Taste of Chicago in June 2002. The fest makes its full-scale return to Grant Park this weekend.

Brian Jackson/Sun-Times file

👅 Taste of Chicago
Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
📍Grant Park, Jackson and Columbus
Food and music mix at this classic Chicago fest, where you can get your fill of local eats and celebrate hip-hop’s 50th birthday with performances from legends like Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh.
Admission: Free; cash or credit accepted by vendors

🍻 German-American Oktoberfest
Friday, 5-11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon-10 p.m.
📍Lincoln, Leland and Western
One of Lincoln Square’s most beloved celebrations returns, with bands, food, and of course, beer. The Von Steuben Parade kicks off at 2 p.m. Saturday, on Lincoln.
Admission: Free

📖 Printer’s Row Lit Fest
Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
📍Dearborn from Polk to Ida B. Wells
This annual celebration for book lovers features more than 100 booksellers and a long list of authors participating in panels, discussions and other programs.
Admission: Free

🎡 79th Street Renaissance Festival
Saturday, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
📍79th and Racine
Come out for music from Anthony Hamilton, Kierra Sheard-Kelly and Nola Ade, along with vendors, community resource information, a petting zoo, carnival rides and more.
Admission: Free

🥟 World Dumpling Fest
Saturday, noon-7 p.m.
📍Logan Square Park, 3150 W. Logan Blvd
Dumplings from 15 cultures and a dozen neighborhood-based ethnic restaurants will be celebrated at this event from the Chicago Cultural Alliance.
Admission: Free; sampler packs of dumplings for $25 and $40

👟 Run for the Parks 5K
Sunday, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
📍Burnham Park at 31st Street Beach, 3155 S. Lake Shore Drive
Enjoy the Lakefront Trail and celebrate our city’s parks with this run, walk and roll. Then stick around for a post-race pancake party.
Admission: $40 for 5K; $30 for post-race party only



Aadam Jacobs, the subject of the documentary “Melomania,” began recording Chicago concerts in 1984.

Katlin Schneider/Chuck Cotterman

‘Melomaniac’ presses record on music fan who taped Chicago rock concerts for decades

Reporting by Bobby Reed

Music collector and archivist Aadam Jacobs holds a unique position in Chicago rock history.

By his own estimation, Jacobs has recorded more than 30,000 individual sets of live music, dating to 1984. His ballpark guess is that he has more than 10,000 tapes, with an average of three bands on each one. Because he recorded everything from brief, in-store appearances to all-day festivals, Jacobs believes the total could be closer to 40,000 sets of music.

Jacobs’ massive personal archive is at the center of local director Katlin Schneider’s compelling, finely crafted documentary “Melomaniac.” The Chicago Underground Film Festival will present the world premiere of the documentary at 7 p.m. Thursday at Harper Theater, with an additional screening Sept. 16 at noon.

The documentary provides viewers with a definition of the word “melomaniac,” which can refer to “someone with an abnormal fondness and intense devotion to music.”

Jacobs does, indeed, deeply love music, but he rarely tapes concerts nowadays. In a previous era, he would haul portable recording equipment around the city to document shows at the Empty Bottle, Fireside Bowl, Hideout, Metro, Schubas and other venues. In some situations, Jacobs secured the band’s permission to record the show, but other times, he didn’t.

“I had one unstated goal, and that was to enjoy music every night,” Jacobs said.



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Editor: Ellery Jones
Newsletter reporter: Matt Moore
Copy editor: Angie Myers

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